Premier League • England

Leading contenders to become new Everton manager named with Rafael Benitez ‘sacked’

Steve Pearson
Rafael Benitez looks to the floor during Everton vs Brighton, January 2022

The early names in the frame to take the managerial job at Goodison Park have emerged after Everton reportedly sacked unpopular boss Rafael Benitez.

Benitez was always likely to find the going tough at Everton given his prior Liverpool connection. His appointment was met with discontent among the Goodison faithful, though a bright start to the season did offer a ray of hope.

However, results on the pitch quickly took a turn, with Everton’s latest defeat to Norwich a truly humbling one.

Everton fell to the Canaries who had scored just eight league goals all season entering the contest. And per widespread reports, that defeat has apparently proven to be the final straw for the club’s decision-makers.

Journalist Pete O-Rourke led the way, categorically stating ‘Everton have sacked Rafa Benitez.’

O’Rourke stated the decision would be officially confirmed by ‘Monday at the latest’. He added that a decision over ‘compensation’ is one of the final issues left to be resolved.

The Daily Express termed the apparent impending dismissal as Benitez ‘agreeing to leave Everton’. Their article suggested any severing of ties would be via mutual consent.

Sky Sports News could not confirm that Benitez and Everton had parted ways at the time of writing. However, they did report the ‘Everton board are in discussions with owner Farhad Moshiri over Benitez’s future’.

Everton manager Rafael Benitez during their 2-1 defeat to Norwich

Respected journalists Fabrizio Romano and David Ornstein then gave their take on the situation, with both delivering bad news for Benitez.

Romano noted there is ‘nothing official yet’, but stated Everton are ‘pushing to sack Benitez immediately’. Ornstein tweeted Benitez’s departure ‘is coming.’

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Early contenders to succeed Benitez revealed

Meanwhile, the early favourite to take the reins on a permanent basis at present is former Toffees striker, Wayne Rooney.

Rooney is working miracles in far from ideal circumstances at Derby County this season. The Express report highlighted Rooney as an early frontrunner to take charge at his boyhood club.

The Liverpool Echo also named Rooney, along with Duncan Ferguson, Frank Lampard, Brighton’s Graham Potter and Nuno Espirito Santo as possible successors.